Labor Arbitrator Rules in Favor of Ascension Saint Joseph—Joliet

This week, a third party labor arbitrator issued a final arbitration ruling finding in favor of Ascension Saint Joseph – Joliet against staffing grievances filed by Illinois Nurses Association (INA).

“Ascension Saint Joseph – Joliet is fully committed to supporting our nurses and all associates, and improving staffing at our critical community hospital,” said Polly Davenport, Market CEO, Ascension Illinois. “Now this fact has been validated by a third party labor arbitrator.”

The labor arbitrator heard two days of testimony from nurses, managers and INA leadership; reviewed numerous grievances, staffing sheets and assignments despite objection (ADO) forms. After this thorough review, the arbitrator unequivocally concluded that, within the circumstances of the grievance, the hospital is fully complying with the collective bargaining agreement and is doing everything it can to improve staffing.

The ruling document states:

“…the Hospital has gone to great lengths to attract and retain qualified nurses, and to sufficiently staff each unit. The Hospital has offered signing and referral bonuses as part of its continuing effort to hire additional nurses. The Hospital also takes a variety of other steps to properly staff each unit from the personnel available to it. The Hospital seeks volunteers to work additional shifts, uses agency nurses to work in short-staffed units, offers financial incentives for nurses to work extra shifts, and fills open shifts with CCRT or float nurses, as well as in-house registry nurses. Nothing in the record suggests that the Hospital has failed to use any reasonable and available method to fill out its unit staffing.”

Davenport stated, “We appreciate the arbitrator’s acknowledgement of our ongoing efforts to ensure the health and safety of our associates and patients through our safe staffing protocols. Moving forward with implementing our RN contract proposal is an extension of this work. We will continue to work through all legal barriers INA presents that try to keep us from recognizing our nurses with competitive wages, and successfully recruiting and hiring staff to support our care teams.”